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Coimbra University | Macroalgae and Halophytes approach to tackle antibiotic resistance

Updated: May 23

A groundbreaking research project titled "Exploiting the power of Portuguese macroalgae and halophytes: A promising approach to tackle antibiotic resistance" is underway at the University of Coimbra. Led by PI Elsa Teresa Santos Rodrigues, alongside Miguel Ângelo do Carmo Pardal and Isabel da Silva Henriques, this project aims to address the urgent global challenge of antibiotic resistance.

Macroalgae and Halophytes

Addressing the Antibiotic Resistance Crisis

With the alarming rise in antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization emphasizes the need for innovative solutions. This research seeks to explore natural compounds from Portuguese macroalgae and halophytes—plants thriving in saline environments along Portugal’s extensive coastline.

Harnessing Nature’s Antimicrobial Properties

The unique properties of coastal flora are key to this research. These plants produce valuable secondary metabolites with antimicrobial properties, particularly under environmental stressors like salinity. By leveraging these natural resources, the team aims to identify new compounds that could effectively combat resistant bacteria.

Rigorous Evaluation and Testing

To achieve their goals, researchers will conduct thorough evaluations of crude extracts from Portuguese macroalgae and halophytes using in vitro bioassays with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This rigorous testing process will pinpoint species with the highest potential for antimicrobial activity, laying the groundwork for developing new antibiotics.

Aligning with National and Global Goals

This project aligns with Portugal’s National Strategy for the Sea (2021-2030), targeting ecosystem restoration, job creation, health promotion, and scientific advancement. It also resonates with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG-3 (Good Health and Wellbeing) and SDG-14 (Life Below Water).

A Promising Future

In summary, this pioneering research holds immense promise in combating antibiotic resistance while fostering economic and environmental sustainability. By exploring Portugal’s rich coastal flora, the project aims to develop new antibiotics and contribute to global efforts to safeguard public health and preserve marine ecosystems.


FAM Foundation is committed with the sustainable development goals, Exploiting the power of Portuguese macroalgae and halophytes: A promising approach to tackle antibiotic resistance project impact the following SGD's.



The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

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